The issue of the safety of vehicles in races reared its head again at the weekend after three riders hit the deck after colliding with a race motorbike on the final day of a stage race in France.
The incident occurred with around 35km to go on the third and final stage of the Boucles de la Mayenne race, a 2.1-level stage race in the north-west of France.
Video of the crash showed a large group of riders, led by the yellow jersey of Matthieu van der Poel (Correndon-Circus) trying to close a small gap to a group of three riders just up the road.
With a race motorbike parked on the left-hand side of the road shorty before a KOM point, Van der Poel passes tight to the right of the motorbike with the other riders lined out in single file in his wheel.
The first rider in Van der Poel’s wheel narrowly avoids the motorbike, but the second rider, Max Kanter of the Team Sunweb Development Team, hits the motorbike with his left shoulder and is sent falling to tarmac.
The two riders behind Kanter – Tanguy Turgis of Vital Concept and Julien Duval of Ag2r La Mondiale – also come down after crashing into the German rider.
Thankfully none of the riders were seriously injured in the crash, with Kanter even able to recover to finish 13th on the stage, which was won by Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), and take fourth place in the general classification.
The crash bore a striking resemblance to that which effectively ended Geraint Thomas’ challenge at the 2017 Giro d’Italia where the Brit was one of a number of riders to crash into a motorbike parked at the side of the road on the approach to the summit finish to Blockhaus on stage nine.
That crash saw Thomas, Team Sky team-mate Mikel Landa, and a number of other riders crash at a vital point in the stage, with Thomas abandoning the race a few days later.